I Didn't Know I Couldn't do it, So I did

Welcome to the Army Nursing blog, which will chronicle my progression in becoming an active duty Army nurse (66HM5, ER Nurse). I report for active duty and officer training this month. Specialties Government Article


  • Editorial Team / Moderator
    Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.
I Didn't Know I Couldn't do it, So I did

This morning at 0700, the phone woke me from sleep. It was my brother, calling me from Alaska to tell me how proud he was of me for joining the Army. Granted, Alaska is several hours behind Virginia, and he clearly had been up all night, indulging in some adult beverages ... but I digress.

In the course of our conversation, he reminded me of something that happened when we were very young -- maybe 4 and 5 years old. We were out in the yard playing, and there was a large black crow sitting on a low branch of a tree in our yard. I walked over and picked up the crow and held it. My brother is fascinated by this occurrence, and this morning, while half-awake, I told him, "I did it because I didn't know that I couldn't do it."

Ever since I said those words, that realization has been bouncing around my head. I do things because it simply does not occur to me that I cannot do them. I think this has been a constant theme in my life: in all endeavors, I go in with the idea that I can do anything I choose. Determined? Yes. Stubborn? Naturally!

It is with these thoughts that I am staring down five days and a wake-up until I depart my home for active duty as part of the Army Nurse Corps. At the tender age of 38, I am being commissioned as a 2LT. The entire process, from initial recruiter contact to the day I report for duty, will have taken the better part of 16 months. Never in my life have I worked this hard for a job! (Yes, I know ... it's not a job, it's an adventure!). At this time, the military is reflecting what is happening in the civilian sector: lack of jobs, and more applicants that positions. From what I have heard, there were approximately 400 applicants for active duty, with approximately 50 selected. Nationwide. That is astonishing to me! But it makes it even more of an honor to be selected to serve.

I grew up overseas as a military brat. When I was 17 years old and preparing to graduate from high school, my stepfather (now a retired Army officer) suggested, "You should consider joining the military." My immediate, knee-jerk response: "I will never join the *&^%$#! military." I felt that I'd "done my time" as a family member. But now, all these years later, I wanted -- yearned! -- to do just that: join the military. I wanted to return to a world that I knew and missed, as well as take care of people serving our country. It became very important to me, and became my focus over the last 16 months.

My progression into the Army Nurse Corps, and nursing in general, has certainly not followed a straight line ... I spent a decade as a graphic designer/desktop publisher; while working in that role, I went to a local community college and became an EMT-B, then an EMT-P (Paramedic). At some point, as I was driving the daily 60+ miles to my design job, I had an epiphany that I needed to stop what I was doing and go into healthcare. With the support of my very understanding husband, I quit my lucrative design job and went to work as an ER tech in 2005 (a 50% pay cut ... ouch). I fell in love with the ER -- the fast pace, the varied complaints, the coworkers who got my weird, sometimes morbid sense of humor -- and decided that I wanted to be an ER nurse. Why? Because no one told me I couldn't, of course! So I went back to school and graduated with my ADN/RN in 2008. My job offer was something along the lines of "We are not letting you leave." Fine with me. At 36, I had officially changed careers, and I settled into my ER nursing role. But then the question arose: what next?

Next blog: Hurry Up and Wait!

(Editorial Team / Moderator)

Pixie.RN: a short green-eyed redhead, very tattooed, former paramedic, ED/trauma RN, educator, infection preventionist/epidemiologist, Army veteran (66T). Avid reader, new mommy, addicted to good shoes, allnurses, and her smartphone.

30 Articles   13,761 Posts

Share this post

Share on other sites


472 Posts

Specializes in ER and family advanced nursing practice.

Of course my family's motto "We dun it because we didn't know we weren't supposed to..." is neither uplifting nor a wise legal strategy but it still explains a lot about us.

I am proud of you too. As a former Army lad myself I can tell you some of the best friends I ever made were in the military. We still keep in touch to this day (over 20 years ago for me..yikes). Just don't forget to duck.

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

30 Articles; 13,761 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

Thanks, Ivan. You helped me get here, you know. :)

Erikadawn RN

504 Posts

I was considering The Armed Forces also, so I can't wait to hear more!


91 Posts

Specializes in ED.


I am excited for you! You always have something valuable to say on posts in the ER forum, and i always look forward to hearing your input.

I too chose nursing as a second career, after giving up a pretty decent income as a photographer (much to my husbands chagrin). I dilly dallied around as a tech for 5 years while taking prereqs and then an intense 1 year BSN program.

I will be looking forward to your posts!

gonzo1, ASN, RN

1,739 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN.

Very cool. I always said I would never be a nurse and somehow I ended up following in the family tradition anyway. And it turned out to be the best, most rewarding thing I ever did. Enjoy your adventures and thank you for your service. If I was 20 years younger I would love to join too.


21 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric.

Good for you, Lunah. I served for 6 years in the Marines. Now, I know there's no medical staff in the Corps, but serving your country is serving your country. The Navy nurses I did see were all professionals and very skilled. Good luck in your adventures in joining the service.

Lunah, I always look forward to reading your posts!! ..im very happy for you and cant wait to hear more details!!


168 Posts

Best of luck to you!

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

30 Articles; 13,761 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

Thanks, everyone ... three days and a wake-up! Wow. I'd better get crackin' on the next part of the blog! :)

Anne36, LPN

1,361 Posts

How old is too old to join the military as a Nurse?


347 Posts

Specializes in Oncology&Homecare.

Good Luck Lunah. May every day be a new adventure for you!

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X